School Employee Sacrifices

This month’s radio program will examine the sacrifices that MEA members statewide have made to help balance budgets in their local school districts. Education employees are often criticized for not doing their part — and this show will highlight the many ways teachers and educational support professionals have given back and taken concessions so that students can continue to get a good education. Tune in to WJR Newstalk 760 AM at 7 p.m. tonight and the program airs statewide on Saturday.

What sacrifices have you and your colleagues made in your school district? Please share your stories.


Sure, we can teach them to read, but how do we get them to LOVE it?

Are the students in your life bibliophibians or bibliophobians? Do they read because they have to or because they love to? February’s “Voices of Michigan Education” tackles all things reading related–from helpful new resources for struggling readers (remember The Electric Company? They’re all new, and they’re on our show) to what to do to keep older readers engaged and interested in trying new genres to an old-fashioned bookmobile that has today’s students pumped.

But I want to know from you–what do you do to help foster a real love of reading? How do we make kids lifelong readers? Share your tips and tricks–and listen to us talk about them on WJR NewsTalk 760 on February 9th at 7 p.m. We can all learn something along the way!

Response on how much is spent on school supplies

The Michigan Education Association conducts a poll each week on its Web site. Last week’s poll saw 409 votes around the question: How much money do you spend out-of-pocket each year to buy classroom supplies or items for your students? The results of the poll were:

12.2% – $250 or less
38.9% – Between $250 and $500
48.9% – More than $500

The fact that almost half of the respondents spend over $500 reflects the comments made on the Michigan Education Association’s Facebook page and on this blog earlier this month. Thanks for all your responses.

In case you missed it, the podcast of the last radio show “Who’s Paying for School Supplies?” is now available here. Listen and let us know what you think.

How do Teachers Spend their Summer Vacation?


So, what are YOU doing this summer? Are you preparing to “run” the Grand Canyon to raise money for charity, will you serve in the reserves as an Army officer? How about a trip to Guatemala to improve your Spanish, or could you be working with an AIDS orphanage in Uganda? Maybe not, but these activities are exactly how teachers across the state are spending their summer “vacations” this year. On the June edition of the Voices of Michigan Education, you’ll hear from nine different educators who have chosen some incredible and meaningful ways to spend their summers. If you think you know what your children’s teachers do during their summer break, I guarantee you’ll have a different perspective at the end of the next edition of the Voices of Michigan Education. Join us to be inspired and maybe dispel some of those notions that, as one teacher told me this week, that they sit around the pool all summer.

You can hear the show on Tuesday evening, June 9 at 7 p.m. on Newstalk 760 WJR and on Saturday, June 13 across the state on the Michigan Radio Network

Utica teachers and other MEA members leading the way toward healthy lifestyles

As we tackle the issue of childhood obesity on our radio show this month, I am reminded once again how much I learn from our members. Deb Lotan, a food service employee from Waterford (and local ESP president) is on our show this month, and her stories really hit home about the importance of making sure our students make good food choices. No one is bigger advocate for the students she serves–Deb knows each and every one of them, and she makes it her mission to encourage them to adopt healthy eating habits.

In Utica, there is a group of teachers who are teaching that same lesson through leading by example. They created a “Biggest Loser” healthy weight loss contest, and the pounds are flying off. Read more about how teamwork is helping them stay on track here:

Makes me want to change a few things about my own habits!

Voices of Michigan Education Program Looks at Nutrition and Childhood Obesity


Join us on Tuesday evening, April 14th at 7 p.m. on Newstalk 760 WJR for the Voices of Michigan Education.

In the latest Michigan Youth Risk Behavior Survey, more than one third of students in grades 9 to 12 did not participate in the recommended amount of weekly physical activity, a higher percentage watched three or more hours of television on an average school day, and less than one third attended physical education class one or more days during an average school week. During the past four decades, obesity rates have soared among all age groups, more than quadrupling among children ages 6 to 11.

We will talk with members of The Generation With Promise project, which aims to prevent obesity and smoking in children as well as Deb Lotan, President of the Michigan Education Support Professional Association, a group that represents 229 custodians, food service, maintenance and transportation workers. She will discuss changes in school nutrition and the fact that for some children, the meals they get at school might be all they receive during the day. Also on the program, Arizona State University Professor, Dr. David Berliner, who has authored an insightful and in some circles controversial report, Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success which reviews six out-of-school factors that have been clearly linked to lower achievement among poor and minority-group students.

The April edition of the Voices of Michigan Education will also be aired on Saturday, April 18 across the state on the Michigan Radio Network.

March 10 Voices of Michigan Education Confronts Homeless Stereotypes

PE-281-0114If you think that the Michigan homeless population is best defined by the guy stuffing all his earthly belongings into a stolen grocery shopping cart, think again. On the March 10 edition of the Voices of Michigan Education heard on 760 WJR in Detroit, as well as across the state on the Michigan Education Network, our guests weighed in from the front lines of the state’s homeless issue who dispel what many believe to be the factors definining homelessness.

Based on statistics from a number of private and government sources that show the typical homeless person in the state being a 7-9 year old child, we talked about the dymanics of homelessness and how those who are displaced are surviving. From “couch surfers” to young families living in cars, we were able to put a face on today’s “homeless statistic” and what citizens of the state need to do to lend a hand.  

Joining us in expanding the dialogue were Lighthouse of Oakland County CEO, John Ziraldo, Linda Forward of the State of Michigan’s Office of Education for Homeless Children and Youth, some incredible stories of formerly homeless families who have turned their lives around in Pontiac and Michigan Education Association Vice President, Steve Cook who has done some life-changing work with transient students in the state.  

The March 10, 2009 broadcast is now available in our podcast section.